I’ve worked from a home office since 1991, so the concept of social distancing and staying home all day is not that foreign to me. I think the problem comes when you can’t — or aren’t supposed to — leave.
After my accident, I was basically stuck. First spending two weeks in rehab, and then being in the house for about two months. Until I could be on crutches, there wasn’t a good way for me to leave the house. We have 16 stairs going from the entrance to the living floor, and when I was in a wheelchair, it was an almost impossible obstacle, an endeavor undertaken only for doctors’ appointments. Although my husband installed a wheelchair ramp behind the house, pushing the chair down the hill on a narrow, muddy path, was a bit like being on a runaway horse; I just hoped to get to the bottom (or top) in one piece. At one point the chair tipped so much I thought I’d end up on the ground and pondered how I’d possibly get back up again.
So, while social distancing or shelter in place, which I’m sure is coming, may sound bad, it’s not nearly as stressful as knowing you can’t get out of the house easily even in an emergency. Right now I’m most concerned about the people who really can’t leave their living space — the elderly, in particular, who are at such high risk. For them, Covid-19 has reduced their world to four walls. Where my father lives, the complex is bringing meals to their apartments and leaving them outside the door. Residents are discouraged from leaving their apartments and visitors are being aggressively screened. They are doing the best they can, but it’s worrying.
For now I wish that everyone, even the young and healthy, would keep to themselves. Walk your dog, ride your horse, read a book, work from home. There will be plenty of time to socialize later. It disturbs me to see people continuing to flock to the Florida beaches to party, or packing themselves into bars and clubs. Remember that even if you’re not at risk, your parents, your grandparents and your neighbors may well be. Now is the time to be like Secretariat. By keeping your distance you can show your class.